Last Updated on April 1, 2022 11:05 am
RALEIGH – With many schools celebrating prom season, and in conjunction with national Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the State Highway Patrol is conducting Operation Drive to Live. This annual campaign is aimed at reducing collisions involving teen drivers on our roadways. Beginning Monday, April 4, and going through Friday, April 8, troopers will step up their enforcement efforts in and around school zones between 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, young drivers are significantly over-represented in fatal crashes. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America and in North Carolina. Engaging in risky driving behaviors combined with inexperience are primary factors contributing to fatal crashes by young drivers, especially during the first six months of driving. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes than all other drivers. Two common errors accounting for nearly half of the crashes involving teen drivers are speeding and driving while distracted.
In 2021, the State Highway Patrol investigated over 32,915 motor vehicle collisions involving young drivers and passengers. Of those collisions, 8,498 injuries were reported and 124 resulted in one or more fatalities.
“Teen drivers face a great responsibility when getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, we must be committed to ensuring they have the tools, resources and knowledge needed to stay safe on our roadways,” said Colonel Freddy Johnson, Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “The choices they will face, along with the consequences of making a poor choice are important conversations we must have with young drivers as parents, educators and law enforcement professionals.”
During the week-long campaign troopers will focus on enforcement, but equally important they will conduct educational initiatives throughout schools, at community events and in driver education courses. Parents and caregivers will hopefully use the campaign as a catalyst to discuss safe driving with their young drivers especially as the forthcoming summer months are considered the deadliest time for collisions involving teens.